House Committee Issues Subpoena in Philadelphia VA Probe
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 29, 2015 – The House Veterans Affairs Committee voted on April 30, 2015, to step up its probe into allegations of mishandling of veterans’ claims at the VA’s Philadelphia office.
In a sign of dwindling patience with the department, the committee voted to issue a subpoena of VA records for just the third time in its history. The committee has since December, 2014, repeatedly requested personnel and complaint records from the Philadelphia office with limited results.
James G. Fausone, an attorney with Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, Michigan, said the vote was an encouraging sign:
“Clearly, Congress needs to get tough with the VA in order to get results, and this shows they aren’t afraid to do that,” Fausone said. “Transforming the VA into a department that gives efficient and fair service to veterans must remain a top priority, and it can’t happen without a thorough investigation into these claims of misconduct.”
Whistleblowers from the Philadelphia office have alleged widespread malfeasance, including neglecting or mishandling mail and changing dates on old claims to give the appearance of shortened wait times. A devastating audit from the VA’s inspector general confirmed these allegations. The IG has expanded its probe to two senior officials at the office.
The day before the subpoena vote, the VA responded to the House committee’s request with a number of documents, but committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller said the records were incomplete and largely redacted.
Following the vote, the VA released a letter from Secretary Robert McDonald to Miller saying the department had devoted seven full-time employees to the task of compiling the records and redacting employees’ personal information deemed unnecessary for the committee’s investigation. McDonald called the subpoena “a needless and unhelpful step.”
The VA’s Philadelphia office, one of its largest, handles benefits for 900,000 veterans in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.Learn more at http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC 41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101 Northville, MI 48168 Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800